Enterprise won’t refund us over a car crash that wasn’t our fault

In July 2016 my partner and I rented a car from Enterprise in France. During our holiday we were hit from behind and the other driver signed a statement admitting he was responsible for the crash. When we returned the car Enterprise made us pay €850 (£780), which it promised to return after it had collected payment from the other driver’s insurer.

Last November Enterprise sent us a letter advising that we would not receive a refund as it had not had a response from the other motorist. We have the name and details of the driver and tried to contact him directly, but he told us we had no right to get in touch.

It has been more than a year since the accident and we are no nearer to getting our money back. HH, Cambridge

The small print in car hire contracts holds the customer liable for excess charges after an accident until a third-party insurer stumps up. If the latter refuses, the hirer takes the hit, which is why it is wise to search comparison websites for excess insurance before you travel. Don’t be tempted by hire companies’ excess insurance policies, which tend to be expensive.

Enterprise says it refunds customers for damage that is not their fault once it has received payment from the third-party insurer. “In most cases this takes about 60 days to complete,” says a spokesperson. “In this instance, while the parties filled out an accident statement on a ‘constat’ form, which is supplied in the rental vehicle, not all the required information was provided, which delayed the claim significantly.”

Enterprise accepts you have waited an unreasonably long time for the case to be concluded so it has decided to refund you as a goodwill gesture: “We recognise the customer acted in good faith and would like to apologise for the inconvenience they’ve experienced.”

If you need help email Anna Tims at [email protected] or write to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include an address and phone number.

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